Detroit Auto Show Recap: Automobile Lightweighting on

At the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, John McElroy, host of, moderated several panels as part of the Autoline Supplier Symposium event. ACC’s Automotive Team Chairman Matthew Marks joined the final panel of the day to discuss automotive lightweighting alongside Jay Baron (President & CEO, Center for Automotive Research) and Randall Scheps (Aluminum Associations Group (ATG) and Marketing Director, Alcoa, Inc.).

automobile lightweighting detroit auto show panel

Marks began by discussing the current automotive plastics landscape, stating that the use of plastics and composites in cars has seen a twofold increase in the last 20 years, and continues to grow everyday. In fact, says Marks, 10% of the mass of a typical vehicle today is plastics, though the material represents about 50% of total car volume.

The panel continued with mention of some new automotive plastic applications, like the Ford F-150’s use of plastics, among many other places in its innovative headlamp design, and the Chevy Corvette’s use of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) reducing weight and enabling cool.  Mr. McElroy invited Marks to explain the “offsets you can get” with plastics.

Marks’ response: “The superior value that plastics and composites bring, from the ability to take mass out [of the vehicle] to the ability to integrate components, to take individual components out, is really what sets [plastics] apart from the other materials that are used to produce vehicles.”

Big thanks to John McElroy and for recognizing the value of plastics as a partner in automotive design, and, to the Center for Automotive Research for organizing the automotive lightweighting panel! To view the discussion on the state of automobile lightweighting, click here or view it below.